Whilst most of the country is still in bed at 5am in the morning Keith Atkinson is up and about rowing on his Concept machine.
The usual stint was 10,000 metres and he has done this despite his suffering from MS since 1974.
His original aim had been to complete 50 million metres by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this he managed with ease. During lockdown he upped the distance to 15,000 metres and passed the 67,000,000 metres before finally “retiring” last month.
The club presented him with a Lifetime Achievement award as his achievement is very inspirational. Keith started rowing in 1954 at the Nottingham Boat Club and after returning from Durham University he was Club Captain for several years and President from 1977 to 2016. He presided over the club during the merger of Nottingham Britannia and Nottingham Boat Clubs. The new format has been an instant success. He is well known in rowing circles and in February at the British Awards Ceremony, he was given a Medal of Merit for outstanding services to rowing. A well-deserved award.
In late January, Olly Bailey contacted the club. He had been a member of the men’s senior squad during the 2010s and explained he had enjoyed his time at the club and also had many happy memories. Olly explained that he had used the discipline of rowing and the training regime in his business life and he would like to help the club with a donation if we had any special projects on the go. He was told that the club were buying a new Empacher coxless four for the women which is due for delivery in the Spring. He was made aware that the club were £5,000 short of our target. Olly kindly agreed to fund this gap and he also agreed to buy a set of oars or sculls, making a total donation of £8,000.
Olly said: “I came to rowing late through the learn to row course but at just the right time. The commitment to teamwork, discipline and perseverance it taught me completely changed my life.
“It built a level of mental fortitude that’s given me an edge in my professional career that I still rely on today, keeping you tapping along when the headwinds really start blowing. Crucially, I also met three of my best friends at the club and we’ve stuck together ever since. Those years contain some of my favourite memories, I honestly couldn’t put a price on what NRC did for my life, so any donation is the least I could do.”
Tony Lorrimer, the Club president, said: “These two members high light the dedication required and the importance of team work. A rowing crew only goes well when all the individuals blend into the team. The sum of the parts should be greater than the whole. Thank you to Keith, for the inspiration and thank you Olly for your very generous donation.”
To find out more about the Nottingham Rowing Club, please visit the website at: www.nottingham-rowing-club.co.uk